Electrical Service Panel Basics Homeowners Should Know
You may be familiar with it as a metal panel in a remote portion of your home that you rarely think about. Then the electricity in the kitchen can go out since you used the blender. The problem is not resolved by pressing the reset button on the countertop GFCI outlet. The electrical service panel box is suddenly required. Homeowners should only check their electrical service panel box once a year. It may become a routine visit for older homes with outdated electrical systems. It may not be necessary to visit it in newer residences. Understanding the fundamentals of your house's electrical service panel will keep you safe while also keeping your home lit and energized. You'll also save money because any electrical repair, from replacing an outlet to wiring an entire room for reconstruction, requires the use of an electrical service panel.
What is an Electric Service Panel?
The connection between the external wires coming in from the street and the interior wires of your home's electric system is the electric service panel. The service panel is the central distribution point that connects the service wire or service drop—the main wire that comes in from the outside—to the exit wires that break off and service various portions of the house. Branch circuits, or branch wire circuits, are exit wires. The electric service panel is owned by the building owner, not the electric provider, in single-family houses. As a result, the owner is responsible for any problems with the electric service panel.
Circuit Breakers and Fuse Boxes
Fuse boxes, fuse panels, and circuit breaker panels are all names for electric service panels. The electrical service panel, or simply the service panel, is now found in almost every home. A circuit breaker panel differs from a fuse box in that it uses mechanical, toggle-switch circuit breakers rather than fuses, but it serves the same purpose. Unlike the rocker-style method of installing and removing circuit breakers, older fuses screw or pull in or out.
The service panel houses all of your home's power. The electrical service panel supplies the home with 100, 200, or more amps of power. These 60-ampere fuse boxes, often with four fuses, were common in homes built between 1950 and 1965. Power enters the house through a service drop, connects to the service lugs in the service panel, and is divided into various circuits throughout the house.
Installing Additional Circuit Breakers
As long as there are places inside your electrical service panel box, you can install more circuits and circuit breakers. Many times, the service panel will contain empty slots. Some older homes may have had their spaces completely filled. An electrician can either install a new, larger service panel box or add a smaller sub-panel that is fed from the main panel in this situation. To create room for the feeder breaker, you'll need to shift older circuits to the sub-panel. Looking at the metal knock-outs on the panel itself can usually tell you if there are more spaces. Any slot that hasn't been knocked out should be open for a new circuit breaker, however, this isn't always the case: Remove the top to see how many empty slots there are.
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